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From the launch of Windows 10, our focus was on moving people from having to choose, to loving Windows. With the release of every new build of Windows 10, we have seen customer satisfaction improve as we have made fixes and added new capabilities and experiences. We are humbled that customers are choosing and loving Windows 10, and there has never been a more important time for a secure, reliable platform that can empower people to create, educate and communicate wherever they are. Today we’re delighted to announce that over one billion people have chosen Windows 10 across 200 countries resulting in more than one billion active Windows 10 devices. We couldn’t be more grateful to our customers, partners, and employees for helping us get here. One in every seven people on the planet is planning, creating, ideating, executing, moving, shaking and doing great things with Windows 10. Because no matter who or where in the world or life they are, Windows 10 provides them with the features and flexibility they need to achieve more. From the high-powered developer who needs the most advanced technology available to the business professional who needs to be productive at work and home, to the student in a developing market who is looking for a low-cost device for learning and self-improvement—Windows 10 is the platform to meet all these needs. With 100% of the Fortune 500 now using Windows 10 devices, it has become a critical platform for driving business transformation in the enterprise and beyond. As companies transition from Windows 7 to Windows 10, they are making a commitment to running their business more efficiently, more securely, and positioning themselves to offer better products, services, and solutions to their customers. New Windows 10 features and security updates are now delivered faster than ever before. We’ve evolved from releasing a version every three years, to releasing multiple versions per year. And with the recent decoupling of the new Chromium-based Edge browser from Windows 10, we can now deliver new builds to customers outside of the normal Windows 10 release cadence—and to more versions of Windows. With Windows 10, our focus has always been to put the customer at the center, to listen to feedback, and to have that feedback shape the development process. One of the strongest examples of this customer focus is our Windows Insider Program which now has over 17.8 million Insiders, with members in every country of the world. We have also strived to make Windows an open, inclusive and accessible platform that can empower everyone to achieve their goals. Our Windows Accessibility team focuses on human-centered design, a method where engineers and designers work to deeply understand peoples’ needs, and then co-design and continuously iterate on solutions directly with them. Learn more by visiting OUR FORUM.

The Folding@home distributed computing project has added twenty new Coronavirus (COVID-19) projects since earlier this week that uses donated CPU power to research new treatment methods. Folding@home allows researchers to use donated CPU cycles to simulate protein folding to research new drug opportunities against diseases and a greater understanding of various diseases. Last week, we reported that the three new projects (11741, 11742, and 11743) that were being used to research the COVID-19 virus and how to create potential drug therapies. Since we last looked on March 9th, 2020, researchers from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Washington University in St. Louis, and Temple University have added 20 new projects, for a total of 23, that are all being used to analyze the proteins of Coronavirus virus. "To help tackle coronavirus, we want to understand how these viral proteins work and how we can design therapeutics to stop them," Folding@home's announcement stated.If you want to check what project you are currently working on or change some of the program's settings via a web GUI, you can select the 'Web Control' option as shown in the image above. This will open a web page showing your current work-in-progress, your settings, and the project ID you are currently contributing your CPU cycles to. To support Coronavirus projects, make sure to support research fighting 'Any Disease'. After determining the project ID number, you can look up the project ID you are working on here. For example, in the image above you can see that the project ID is 14315, which is for Cancer research. The Folding@home project has said that due to the increasing interest in the project and CPU cycles being donated, it may take some time before you receive a job to work on. "Each simulation you run is like buying a lottery ticket. The more tickets we buy, the better our chances of hitting the jackpot. Usually, your computer will never be idle, but we’ve had such an enthusiastic response to our COVID-19 work that you will see some intermittent downtime as we sprint to setup more simulations. Please be patient with us! There is a lot of valuable science to be done, and we’re getting it running as quickly as we can," Folding@home stated. If you have an idle computer sitting around doing nothing, please contribute it to the project. Who knows, the data you are assigned and solve could be what helps to create a cure! Learn more and to donate visit OUR FORUM.
So, here we go again. Just ahead of the (now online) launch of Huawei’s next flagship, the P40, all attention turns to the impact the loss of Google will have on its sales and the workarounds available to solve the problem. Huawei hasn't given up hope of restoring Google to its new devices, and Google certainly wants the same, but until there’s a change in Trump’s blacklist, this is the path Huawei is on. We’ve been here before, of course. Last September, just ahead of the Mate 30 launch, there was lots of talk about workarounds and quick fixes. With the device in the market, talk of simple workarounds stalled and security concerns for the mainstream users won out. Sales of the device also stalled outside China. Huawei has spent the intervening months pushing its Huawei Mobile Services alternative to Google, with financial incentives for developers to jump on board. But Google is still Google, and there is no real alternative yet. As previewed for by David Phelan, the P40 shows every sign of being another standout hardware achievement for Huawei. But the reality is that the world outside China is not yet ready to buy a non-Google Android phone en masse. Yes, there are clunky ways around, but no, not everything will work. And there are inevitable user complexities and security concerns in trying something new. Google even took the surprise step of warning users not to try these dangerous methods. And so bear all that in mind with the latest whizz-bang workaround to hit the web. Surfacing first on Twitter and and picked up by Gizguide and others, there is apparently a new quick fix that makes it “even easier” to install GMS, the package of Google apps and underlying services that sits atop the basic Android OS. This is a grey area, to say the least. GMS is not licensed for new Huawei phones. So if you run this solution on a Mate 30 or P40, you are in breach of that license requirement and do not have any of the usual protections you would expect. Nor can you guarantee the software will not be switched off at some point, as happened to the well-known “LZPlay” Mate 30 workaround last year. says that “despite our extensive tests, app appraisal and observation of possible illegal account activity in the days after the installation, we received a legitimate security notice.” The blog does acknowledge that “we have not been able to test whether this will lead to restrictions in subsequent use.” This is notable because it seems so easy. How the app is circumventing Google security is unknown. There were implications last year that Huawei might overlook certain bypasses—their consumer head Richard Yu essentially promised users a fix—but this was all quickly shut down by Google and then Huawei. Follow this thread on OUR FORUM.

The major and monthly updates to Windows 10 can be a headache for some people. From the infamous blue screen of death errors, installation issues, reduced performance, and data deletion bugs, installing Windows update isn’t a seamless process for everyone. Windows 10 KB4540673 is the latest update and it was released on March 10 with security fixes. The March Patch Tuesday update is a low-key release and there are not too many changes, but it appears that the patch is still causing a series of problems for some people. The most recent cumulative update for the Windows 10 version 1909 and 1903 is causing the blue screen of death on some devices, according to user reports. Only a small subset of consumers appear to be impacted, but the number of reports is growing. Concerns over Windows 10 KB4540673 cumulative updates were documented in our comments section and other forums. “After installing it I started having BSOD every time I started my PC. The only solution I had was rolling back to a previous restore point of some days ago.,” explained the post author in our comments. “This March update installed automatically on my devices and it leads to BSOD errors on my gaming PC and my work laptop,” another user wrote. These user reports suggest that the issue is only due to compatibility issues with KB4540673. As we noted, consumers in other forums also reported seeing the issue with Windows 10’s newest patch. A discussion on Reddit also confirms the issue happens on some devices. For example, as one Redditor notes: “Not sure if this is the same problem given mine auto-updated to KB4540673 (not KB4535996), but after the update, my desktop PC was hanging on the BIOS/UEFI loading screen. I couldn’t get past POST to even attempt booting into Windows or Safe Mode”. “Installed KB4540673 today got a blue screen while playing CS: GO,” another user noted. “In all fairness, as annoyed as I am that my laptop is completely crashed right now over this update,” one poster noted in Microsoft’s forums. Some users have also claimed that this update could take a really long time to install, while others have reported installation issues. “It doesn’t install here. It restarts and says that the update wasn’t installed,” a reader told us. “I have the same issue. Only mine doesn’t go far as 1% and it won’t allow the other updates to download so I really don’t know what to do. Like I’ve had my PC opened all day and is still 1% not gone up at all,” a user wrote. One user also claimed that this patch once again causes a temporary user profile bug. It is worth noting that only a subset of users with unknown PC configuration reported these problems and it’s unclear just how widespread this issue is. For more refer to OUR FORUM.

Multiple sources familiar with the Entertainment Software Association (ESA)'s plans have confirmed to Ars Technica that the organization, which is responsible for the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), will soon cancel the three-day expo. Like in prior years, E3 2020 was scheduled to play out in early June as a three-day event at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Shortly after we received the tip, indie game publisher Devolver Digital posted a brief, ominous message on Twitter: "Cancel your E3 flights and hotels, y'all." The ESA had not made any announcements about E3 2020 at that time. One source who spoke to Ars on background said they'd heard the news of E3 2020's cancellation "directly from ESA members" and that an official, public statement on the matter "was supposed to be today [Tuesday, March 10] and slipped." Representatives for the ESA did not immediately respond to Ars Technica's questions about the state of E3 going forward or whether the event's seismic shift may instead mean a delay, a move to a completely different venue, or a wholly virtualized, live-streamed event. Exactly why the event will be canceled is not clear at this time. Late last month, the ESA addressed concerns about the spread of coronavirus and its impact on major 2020 expos around the world by insisting that it "continue[d] to plan for a safe and successful E3" while otherwise "monitoring and evaluating" its potential impact on events held in Los Angeles. Following that announcement, E3's contracted creative directors, the merchandise and events company iam8bit, resigned from its post after five weeks on the job. That news followed a February announcement that longtime E3 collaborator Geoff Keighley would not be participating in this year's expo. More so than the organizers and headlines, E3 has always been about the games—but even that fact has been a sore spot, as E3 has seen major game publishers bow out in recent years. Activision-Blizzard became an unreliable attendee starting in 2016. EA officially ditched E3 in 2016 to operate EA Play, a standalone event timed alongside E3, on an annual basis ever since. While Nintendo has regularly had a major booth on the E3 show floor, the company hasn't hosted an E3 keynote event for some time, choosing instead to host pre-filmed Nintendo Direct presentations on YouTube. Sony's absence in 2019 was considered particularly major, given that it's the producer of the world's best-selling home gaming console, and its E3 2020 no-show seemed even more glaring in comparison, thanks to a new PlayStation 5 console expected to launch later this year. Follow any Conference Cancellations by visiting OUR Forum.

A hot potato: Intel's largely undocumented master controller for its CPUs has a vulnerability that cannot be fixed, and is so severe that it can allow malicious actors to bypass storage encryption, copyrighted content protections, and take control of hardware sensors in IoT devices. Security researchers have discovered that a new vulnerability present in Intel chips that have been released over the last five years is unfixable outside of replacing the hardware that's currently being used in millions of commercial and enterprise systems. Specifically, this has to do with the Converged Security and Management Engine, which is essentially a tiny computer within your computer that has full access to all data that flows through your PC, from internal components to peripherals. Intel has guarded the secrets of how this engine works in an effort to prevent competitors from copying it, but that hasn't prevented security experts from trying to crack their way in to see if it can be exploited by malicious actors. The unfixable flaw was discovered by Positive Technologies, who says it's a firmware error that's hard-coded in the Mask ROM of Intel CPUs and chipsets. The problem is that Intel's CSME is also responsible for several security features, including the cryptographic protections for Secure Boot, digital rights management, and Enhanced Privacy ID (EPID). It also houses the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) that allows the OS and apps to store and manage keys for things like file system encryption. Researchers explained that hackers can exploit a firmware error in the hardware key generation mechanism that allows them to take control of code execution. They noted that "when this happens, utter chaos will reign. Hardware IDs will be forged, digital content will be extracted, and data from encrypted hard disks will be decrypted."The only recent platform immune to the problem is Intel's 10th generation, Ice Point chipsets and SoCs. However, the good news is that the attack method described by Positive Technology is rather difficult to achieve without other factors at play, such as direct physical access to the hardware in question. This isn't the first time someone has managed to crack open Intel's ME subsystem. Security researchers uncovered other vulnerabilities in Intel's hardware in 2017 and 2018, not to mention the Spectre-style one from 2019 and the recently disclosed CacheOut attack, but at least those are fixable. Stay on top of the by visiting OUR FORUM.